Russian human rights activist Dmitry Rozhin arrested


 On 2 April Dmitry Rozhin, one of the heads of the NGO “Legal Basis”, was arrested in Yekaterinburg. The criminal investigation against him was initiated back on 23 April 2009.

Dmitry Rozhin says that the order for his arrest was issued on 16 March, while the actual arrest took place in Yekaterinburg after he was summoned to the police. He was, however, taken from there to hospital as his state of health had deteriorated.

The criminal proceedings are over alleged fraud.  It is worth noting, however, that the criminal investigation began virtually immediately after a press conference held on 23 April 2009 regarding the results of a public investigation into the tragedy at the Hollywood Discothèque in which three school girls and a young man were crushed to death.  The public investigation found that the tragedy might have been averted had police been on duty nearby. 

Another participant in that press conference, as well as the public investigator, was Alexei Sokolov. He was arrested in May 2009 and later sentenced to three years imprisonment. He has served this sentence and is now at liberty.

Human rights workers believe that the criminal proceedings against both Sokolov and Rozhin were trumped up and constitute revenge by the law enforcement bodies because the human rights activists had carried out their own investigation into the causes of the tragedy at the Hollywood Discotheque.  At the time the police claimed that there had been a police unit on duty near the place of the tragedy, but human rights activists asserted that this was not the case. 

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